Monday, December 27, 2010

Training Two Dogs at Once

I thought it would be cute to get the dogs to do some tricks together. Back when Blaze was an only dog, I desperately wanted another dog to train so that he could have breaks, but also so that we could do tricks with two dogs. I had a trick book as one of my first dog books ever, and there was a whole chapter on multiple-dog tricks that I just wasn't able to use!

And somehow that never happened even with dog 2 and dog 3. Luna learned to jump over Blaze but that was about the extent of it.

So last week I decided it would be adorable and festive to teach Griffin to hold a bell and to have Luna ring it. He knows how to hold things. She knows how to target. How hard would it be? A five minute training project at most.

So, Griffin had a session of bell holding. Easy.

And I had Luna do some targeting. Great. Not fluent, but she was touching it and knew that's how she could access treats. If I had more time I would teach her to push it hard enough for a ring. But hey, five minute trick.

But when I put the parts together, her touching was ultimately the weak piece.

Some of my training friends are very strict about marker= treat. And I am to...for the working dog. But you can see when Luna was working and Griffin was present, I fed him too. I couldn't not! And you can see from his expression, he was expecting a reinforcer. What would happen to his click-treat association if I hadn't fed him?

And I used the click for the marker when both dogs were working as well as their separate may have been more efficient to use one marker for together, and each dog to have his-her own separate marker. Then I wouldn't have to feed Griffin for Luna's clicks.

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